[VSTS] Using Process Parameters in Release Definitions

Building some release pipelines for my current project, I was faced with an inconvenience. When using a lot of Azure related tasks, in my case “Azure Resource Group Deployment” tasks, each of those tasks require a connection to your Azure subscription to function. Now you could just configure the connection for each task and be done with it. But I really HATE dislike repetitive work and also didn’t fancy the maintenance effort when I would need to change anything in the future. So I went looking for a better way to do this.

What I wanted to achieve: define the Azure subscription connection once per environment so that I can still have difference subscriptions for Test, Acceptance and Production; but not having to specify it for each task individually.
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[Azure] News for Developers, March 2018

This entry is part 11 of 11 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Now this is based on my personal feeds and my personal opinion, so you might miss things or see things which in your opinion do not matter. Feel free to comment below and I’ll see what I can do for the next edition. And honestly, this is more a personal reference than anything else so having actual readers would already be awesome 🙂 Enjoy!

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[Azure] Regain admin access to your Azure AD tenant custom domain

Let me start by admitting something: I really made a mess of my Azure AD tenants over time 🙂 If you’re career is anything like mine, you probably know how it is to have multiple Azure subscriptions, MSDN subscriptions and Azure AD tenants (which are at the root of all of your Azure activities). And since it’s spring time and all, I decided it could use a little cleaning up. And so I started moving stuff over to the subscriptions I want to use and deleting the left overs.

Somewhere in this process I might have been a little bit too enthused about throwing stuff away. And I ended up with the following situation:

  • I had an Azure AD tenant, linked to one of my custom domains.
  • The subscription linked to the tenant was deleted (or expired, not sure).
  • Within the tenant I had only one user left, which was user, not admin.

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[Azure] News for Developers, January 2018

This entry is part 9 of 11 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Now this is based on my personal feeds and my personal opinion, so you might miss things or see things which in your opinion do not matter. Feel free to comment below and I’ll see what I can do for the next edition. And honestly, this is more a personal reference than anything else so having actual readers would already be awesome 🙂 Enjoy!

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[Azure] News for Developers, December 2017

This entry is part 8 of 11 in the series Azure news for Developers

First of all I’d like to start by wishing everyone a very happy 2018! 2017 was a great year and I’m sure that 2018 will also have some great new things to come! Traditionally December doesn’t bring us that much news so this edition is a little shorter than what you’re used to.

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Now this is based on my personal feeds and my personal opinion, so you might miss things or see things which in your opinion do not matter. Feel free to comment below and I’ll see what I can do for the next edition. And honestly, this is more a personal reference than anything else so having actual readers would already be awesome 🙂 Enjoy!

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[Azure] News for Developers, November 2017

This entry is part 7 of 11 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Now this is based on my personal feeds and my personal opinion, so you might miss things or see things which in your opinion do not matter. Feel free to comment below and I’ll see what I can do for the next edition. And honestly, this is more a personal reference than anything else so having actual readers would already be awesome 🙂 Enjoy!

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[Azure] News for Developers, October 2017

This entry is part 6 of 11 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Now this is based on my personal feeds and my personal opinion, so you might miss things or see things which in your opinion do not matter. Feel free to comment below and I’ll see what I can do for the next edition. And honestly, this is more a personal reference than anything else so having actual readers would already be awesome 🙂 Enjoy!

Where the previous edition featured a lot of stuff due to Ignite, things are a bit slow for this one. But still, some good news came from Redmond!

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[Azure] News for Developers, September 2017

This entry is part 5 of 11 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Now this is based on my personal feeds and my personal opinion, so you might miss things or see things which in your opinion do not matter. Feel free to comment below and I’ll see what I can do for the next edition. And honestly, this is more a personal reference than anything else so having actual readers would already be awesome 🙂 Enjoy!

The Ignite 2017 conference took place this month. And as always with the bigger Microsoft conferences: there was news, lots of it. So this months list is a little bit longer than usual!

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[Azure] News for Developers, August 2017

This entry is part 4 of 11 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Now this is based on my personal feeds and my personal opinion, so you might miss things or see things which in your opinion do not matter. Feel free to leave and comment below and I’ll see what I can do for the next edition. And honestly, this is more a personal reference than anything else so having actual readers would already be awesome 🙂 Enjoy!

 

App Service specific updates

Here are some important updates from the world of Azure App Services:

  • The Azure Functions UI now features a tabbed interface. (link)
  • Also from the Azure Functions world, the Tools for Visual Studio 2017 Update 3 are now available. And even better: you get them as part of the update, no manual installation required! (link)
  • Have you tried turning it off and on again? With Proactive Auto Heal, your webapps will auto restart when they’re in a bad state (memory leak for instance). It does this by monitoring the memory and request time. Note that is now is on by default, but you can opt-out. (link)
  • It’s now very easy to choose a Docker image from Azure Container Registry for Continuous Deployment schemes. (link)

The app services team now keeps track of their updates in blog posts and in this github repo!  And you can find a monthly update on their blog as well.

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Visual Studio (Team Services)

Everything slows down in summertime, right? Well not in the world of VSTS! These are just the cherries from the huge list of updates!

  • Creating Wiki pages is now in public preview. Wiki’s support markdown (like other pages) and can be very useful to create documentation for instance. (link)
  • Search for and recreating deleted branches. Makes you wonder what the definition of “delete” is, but hey… we’ve all needed this one at one time. (link)
  • A new version of the dotnet (2.x) build task supports authenticated package sources. There were also changes in the behavior when it cannot find a project file (now fails) and to specifying an explicit output path. (link)
  • The marketplace now features an extensions for Ansible support. (link)
  • Running Web Tests from the test hub, you can now capture screenshots of desktop apps. (link)
  • A new work items hub allows filtering work based on: Assigned to me, Following, Mentioned, My activity, Recently created. (link)
  • In a “if this, than that” style you can now create work item rules to automate things even more. (link)
  • w00t! Support for Git Forks is on the way! (link)
  • The new Release Editor experience is now the default for everyone, but can still be disabled by an admin. (link)
  • A release task can now be conditional based on the requirement that you set. (link)
  • The new user management experience helps adding new users, managing users and adding them to Projects and Teams. (link)

Check out https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/articles/news/2017/aug-04-team-services and https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/articles/news/2017/aug-28-team-services for the complete overview!

 

Azure

Here’s all the stuff that didn’t fit into one of the above categories:

  • If you are looking at blockchain (as we are at mStack), check out Microsofts new Coco framework for building enterprise blockchain networks. (link)
  • Visual Studio 2017 Version 15.3 has been officially released. Highlighted features include: (link)
    • A lot of work on the accessibility side, including debugging features and text adornments.
    • Several fixes to provide more stability.
    • Included support for Azure Functions.
    • Broad Azure sign-in support (Government, Sovereign cloud and Azure Stack).
    • Improved Container support.
    • Continous Delivery Tools now included by default.
  • .NET Core 2.0 was also officially released! (link) Highlights include:
    • Live Unit Testing during coding
    • Refering to .NET Core / .NET Standard libraries without the need to add interop packages. They’re still needed but VS includes them automatically now.
    • Supported in Visual Studio for Mac.
  • Talking about Visual Studio for Mac, that team released version 7.1 of their product to the public. (link)
  • Azure Event Grid (in preview) allows the routing of infrastructure and application level events to all kinds of components within Azure. Allows you to hook into events like “someone was added to my Azure subscription”. And it’s serverless! (link)

That’s it for this month, see you next month for another round of Azure news!

[Azure] News for Developers, June 2017

This entry is part 2 of 11 in the series Azure news for Developers

Are you having trouble keeping track of everything that’s going around in Azure? You’re not alone! In an effort to do so myself, I’m starting a monthly series called “News for developers” which is exactly that: a summary of all of the Azure flavored news specifically for software developers. Now this is based on my personal feeds and my personal opinion, so you might miss things or see things which in your opinion do not matter. Feel free to leave and comment below and I’ll see what I can do for the next edition. And honestly, this is more a personal reference than anything else so having actual readers would already be awesome 🙂 Enjoy!

 

App Services updates

The app services team announced a couple of new updates in their monthly blog post. These include:

  • Azure CDN now supports https on custom domains, something that you could previously only do with one of the external CDN services (link).
  • New App Service Overview Blade
    The new overview blade should perform faster making is easier to switch between apps. The charts can be pinned to custom dashboards which might improve the performance of those as well (a little bit).
  • Integrated experience for Windows and Linux based apps
    When creating a new app service instance, you can now pick which OS the instance needs to host your app.
  • App Service Advisor recommendation history
    The app service advisor will provide proactive recommendations on how to solve problems within your application. It now features the ability to view past recommendations.

Blog post: https://blogs.msdn.microsoft.com/appserviceteam/2017/06/30/june-2017-app-service-update/

Visual Studio (Team Services)

From the world of Visual Studio team services:

  • Visual Studio 15.3 preview has been released. You can install and check it out today! (link) It features:
    • Azure Continous Delivery support for .NET Core and ASP.NET Core apps.
    • Increased visibility on extension impact on performance. For some reason it recently advised me to close the Errors pane. That’s right, just ignore them!
  • The Visual Studio Team Services updates for this month include:
    • Sharing fields across processes, making it easier to query across team projects that use different processes.
    • Support for custom work item icons and a library to pick them from.
    • Filtering a pull request tree by file name. Same goes for the tree view in Code views.
    • Web view for Git Tags. This view allows to view, delete and filter based on tags. Managing tags can be set-up with separate permissions.
    • Import and Export on Build Defintions. This was one of the top-voted items on UserVoice!
    • Hosted agent pools for building your code are changing. No longer are there agents that support multiple versions of Visual Studio; you need to pick the correct pool now.
    • Comprehensive updates have been made to the NuGet, npm, Maven and dotnet task manager tasks, fixing a lot of bugs.
    • Streamlined user management including bulk remove, optionally add new users to projects and easily view subscriptions.

Check out https://www.visualstudio.com/en-us/articles/news/2017/jun-22-team-services for the complete overview.

 

Other

Here’s all the stuff that didn’t fit into one of the above categories:

  • Manage ACS, Cosmos DB, Active Directory Graph and more with release 1.1 of the Azure management libraries for .NET (link).
  • Text Analytics API now supports sentiment analysis in 16 languages (including Dutch, HOERA!) (link).
  • Azure SQL Data Sync was refreshed, bringing portal support and a REST API (link).
  • Azure Traffic manager got two new features: fast failover and TCP probing (link). The failover options include:
    • Endpoint checking interval can now be set to 10 seconds instead of the default 30
    • Configure the number of tolerated failures (0 – 9)
    • Configure the time-out interval for each probe attempt
    • TTL can be down to 0

    The TCP probing enables probing of resources that might not be able to return a HTTP response.

  • The Cognitive Toolkit v2.0 is fully released. This toolkit allows developers to incorporate self-created and trained neural networks into their applications. (link)

That’s it for this month, see you next month for another round of Azure news.